Perry Scranton's chocolate shop in Silver River, Colorado, sells more than just orgasm-worthy truffles. His specialty is magical chocolate that leads whoever tastes it to their true love.
In spite of his magical matchmaking, Perry remains single. He expects he will remain so, since he's gay, just turned forty, and lives in a tiny mountain town where his dating pool is so limited it might as well be nonexistent.
Until Foster Carlisle walks into his shop, tall and lean and hot as hell. With a strange feeling Foster might be "the one," Perry hands him a very special piece of chocolate and hopes for the best...
Praise for The Chocolatier (Sex and Chocolate)
"Chocolatier is an indulgent, light-hearted love story that will speak to everyone's inner hedonist. Pick it up if you're in need of a smile and a happy sigh."
-- Lotus, Whipped Cream Reviews
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The Chocolatier (Sex and Chocolate)
All rights reserved.
Copyright ©2009 Elizabeth Jewell
"That'll be nine-fifty, Mrs. Carson." Perry Scranton tied a neat ribbon about the package of chocolates and handed them to Milly Carson. Expensive, he knew, for a half-dozen chocolates, but they were worth every penny.
"Thank you so much, Mr. Scranton." She looked at the package, then back up at Perry. "You're sure they'll work?"
Perry smiled. "I'm never really sure, ma'am, but I haven't had any complaints yet."
The statement seemed to please her, for she smiled, then leaned over the counter to speak directly to Perry.
"You ought to make some of those special chocolates for yourself. You could use a sweet young thing in your life."
Perry nodded a little. "Well, I think I'm getting a bit too old for sweet young things."
"Still. Worth a shot, isn't it?"
With a chuckle, she left the shop.
Perry watched her go, then turned his attention back to the cash register. He straightened the bills, making sure they all faced the same direction.
She wasn't the first person who'd pointed out the irony of the business he did. He sold chocolates to lovers, chocolates that were meant to bring lovers together. No one but Perry really understood how it worked. If he told anyone else, they wouldn't believe him, anyway.
But it had never worked for him. He'd tried, once or twice, putting his special magic in a truffle or two for his own table, when a likely prospect had happened by. But the likely prospects had barely looked twice, moving on to other men.
He'd told himself at the time they just hadn't been the right one, but now, with his fortieth birthday two weeks in the past, he was beginning to think there would never be a right one.
Especially not here. When Milly Carson had mentioned "sweet young things," Perry was pretty sure she'd meant female things. Perry wasn't all that interested in female things. He liked his partners with dicks, thank you very much.
At forty, in a small town like this, he was more than past his prime. He might as well resign himself to a life of matchmaking for everybody else, while he entertained himself in the evenings with crappy porn, a tube of KY, and his own hand.
The bag of chocolates he'd just sold Millie would bring her daughter to her true love. They'd bring Perry nine dollars and fifty cents and another plus sign for his reputation.
He snapped on fresh plastic gloves and turned to the ganache he was molding for the next batch of truffles. Not magic ones this time -- just plain, ordinary, to-die-for dark chocolate truffles.
Well. Maybe a little magic. Just enough to keep them all coming back.
He was carefully pouring melted chocolate over the exactly formed mounds of ganache when the bells above the front door tinkled again. Perry looked up with a smile to greet the arriving customer.
The young man who walked in was easily the hottest thing he'd seen in all his ten years of living in Silver River, Colorado. Tall and lean, with stylishly spiky dark hair and eyes so bright blue they almost seemed to glow, he sauntered into the store, taking in the shelves and gift baskets.
"Afternoon," Perry said, his voice surprisingly calm in spite of the turmoil that had begun in his body. "What can I do you for?"
A poor turn of phrase, he thought as the words came out of his mouth. The young man looked up and grinned at him. "Just checking you out," he said.
Perry blinked. Another interesting turn of phrase. He wondered how the young man had meant it.
"You're Perry Scranton?" he asked. "The owner?"
"Yeah." He held out a hand over the counter and the other man took it.
"Foster," he said. "Foster Carlisle."
"Good to meet you." He reluctantly released his grip on Foster's hand. Their palms had fit together neatly, and the handshake had been just right -- not too tight, not too limp, and not a bit sweaty. It made Perry's thoughts drift to places he shouldn't be considering. Not right now.
"They say this is the best chocolate in the county," Foster was saying. Perry had almost missed it.
"They say the truth." Perry smiled. "Maybe the best chocolate in the state."
"If you do say so yourself."
"I do." He reached behind the counter and withdrew one of the fresh truffles. "Like to try one?"
"Hmmmm." Foster eyed it with a coy tilt to his head. "Maybe I just will."
Delicately, he lifted the truffle from Perry's palm. The tips of his fingers brushed Perry's skin. Again, Perry felt that vague thrill.
He took a closer look at Foster. He was easily ten years younger than Perry, which under most circumstances would have stopped Perry from taking a serious look. He knew his limits, and men under thirty-five or so were off-limits.
But there was something...
"Oh, God," said Foster, who had popped the truffle into his mouth. Perry preferred to see people down the truffles more delicately, to allow for a chance to savor the flavors he slaved over so diligently, but since Foster was a first-timer, he'd make allowances. Especially since, at this moment, Foster was making one of the most enticing orgasm faces Perry had ever seen.
Perry smiled. "I told you."
"Oh, God." It seemed to be the only thing Foster could manage to say. "God, oh, God." Then he shut up and just closed his eyes, mouth working around the chocolate.
Perry's smile faded as he made another realization. His cock had risen, steel-hard against the back of his zipper. Not that it was an unusual reaction, especially when faced with a good-looking young man making a sequence of orgasm faces, but it was... different somehow.
Perry frowned. He'd never felt quite like this before, but now that he was focusing his attention on the sensation, he thought he recognized it. It was the same feeling he got when someone came into his shop who seriously needed Perry's special brand of magic. Combined with the desire spiraling through his own groin, it made Perry wonder.
No, it made Perry hope.